- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 4, 2006

In addition to the many congressional and gubernatorial races we’ll be watching Tuesday, here’s a brief list of ballot measures we suggest readers keep their eye on.

n Missouri, Amendment 2: This ballot initiative to protect and grant access to embryonic stem cell research has drawn national headlines recently as celebrities on both sides have fought it out on television ads. Actor and Parkinson’s disease patient Michael J. Fox began the uproar when he appeared in an ad supporting Senate Democratic candidate Claire McCaskill, who favors the amendment. That led to a conservative reaction led by radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, as well as pro-life actors and professional athletes. Advocates of the amendment say that it will open the door to any number of cures, and that it bans cloning. But critics allege those assurances are false, and that the amendment’s fine print actually permits cloning most conservatives oppose.

n Michigan, Proposal 2: Otherwise known as the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, this ballot measure would prohibit state and local government from discriminating against or giving preferential treatment to any individual based on race, sex, ethnicity for employment. In other words, the campaign, led by affirmative-action opponent Ward Connerly, would correct the Supreme Court’s disastrous 2003 case upholding the University of Michigan’s use of racial preferences in enrollment. Mr. Connerly and his supporters had to battle the worse sort of race-based politics to even get the proposal on the ballot.

n Virginia, Question 1: A state constitutional amendment to protect marriage as a union between a man and woman has a good chance of passing. With state supreme courts in Massachusetts and New Jersey legislating homosexual “marriage” from the bench, traditional marriage proponents have taken their fight to the voters, the democratic way. Republicans had hoped the amendment would also turn out voters for Sen. George Allen, but polls basically have him tied with Democratic challenger Jim Webb, who opposes it. The amendment still might tip the balance, however, as during the 2004 elections marriage amendments on seven state ballots helped drive turnout among Republican voters.

n Colorado, Referendum I: This is a domestic partnership initiative authorizing the state government to extend to homosexual couples many of the same benefits and protections that are currently granted to a married couple. Its supporters like to point out that the text of the referendum clearly states a “domestic partnership is not a marriage, which consists of the union of one man and one woman.” Critics say that’s just a matter of semantics and the initiative essentially legalizes homosexual “marriage.”

n South Dakota, Abortion Ban: The South Dakota legislature took the addition of two conservative justices on the Supreme Court as a sign that the days of Roe v. Wade were numbered. It passed an outright ban on abortion with no exception in the case of rape or incest. Opponents quickly gathered enough signatures to put the law on the ballot for the voters to decide. The law’s original drafters knew that it would be challenged in court, perhaps getting as far as the Supreme Court. But even if Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito opposed Roe v. Wade — and no one knows if they do — that would still leave the pro-Roe faction of the court in the majority. It would be a blow to the pro-life movement if the Supreme Court sent down yet another affirmation of Roe. Polls, however, show that the ban’s opponents have a good chance of getting the law overturned.

n California, Proposition 87: In the name of global warming, California liberals, a set which includes the uber-wealthy Hollywood class, have decided that the best way to get Californians to cut back on their carbon-dioxide emissions is to stick them with a $4 billion tax increase. Naturally, that’s not what the proposition’s supporters claim. They say that the tax increase on oil companies will not be allowed to be passed on to the consumer. Right. As even the liberal San Francisco Chronicle points out, “No initiative can suspend the laws of supply and demand.”

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